What is wrong with the system? At the end of my rope...

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Karenvm, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Karenvm

    Karenvm Member

    Hi all.
    I have posted recently about my 17 year old son, my difficult child. Wonderful kid till a few years ago, and now just a nightmare to live with . Has been smoking pot, drinking, even found out he was drinking cough syrup to get high at one point. Has had 2 one week long inpt admissions in past year, completed two intensive outpatient programs after each admission, and has had constant therapy for a year and a half ( weekly with psychologist, every two weeks with psychiatrist). All this time though, has never stopped smoking. Few weeks ago, found he was cutting school and smoking in his room. Psychiatrist ( who specializes in substance abuse) said it is time for longer in patient rehab, like at least three months. My home is a nightmare because of him. I have two younger sons, 14 and 9, and difficult child has made their lives miserable as well. Last weekend I cleaned out difficult children bedroom, and found an insane amount of pot paraphernalia which had not been there two weeks prior. Also found an empty vodka bottle in a sweatshirt, and then in my 9 year olds room, found two empty beer bottles hidden in the back of his closet. Worst of all was when my 9 year old tried on his snow pants from last year, and put his hand in the pocket and pulled out a little Baggie of pot, along with a pipe ( or "bowl", as I understand they are called). Apparently difficult child hides his stuff now in my 9 year olds things. Oh, and I found two of my sharp kitchen knives hidden in a pillow. Not exactly sure why. He has cut in the past, but doesn't seem to be doing it now.
    i have started searching for a residential treatment center, but boy, that's nearly impossible to find! And I have wonderful insurance that covers an unlimited number of residential treatment days! My state (nj) assigned him a caseworker, who pretty much told me that unless he is willing to go into a rehab ( or mental health facility), that there is nothing we can do. I was like, HE IS 17! He clearly can't make a rational decision about his life now!! Then she said that through NJ, it can take months to find a treatment facility that can take him (i dont have "months", he turns 18 in June). I found a center on my own that is willing to accept him (it is in Pennsylvania) but again, they said he must be willing to sign consent and go. This program is 45 days, and then they go from there after they have evaluated him. Tried to talk to difficult child about it tonight, as they can take him this Thursday, but of course he is saying he is not going to go. Oh, and by the way, he is also not going to go to school anymore, because his anxiety is too bad, so he tells me tonight.

    His psychiatrist refused to prescribe his adderall, as he is still using pot, which is counterproductive. So it's been about a week without adderall for his ADHD, and he is a nightmare without it. And, he has stopped taking his lexapro as well, because he is mad about the adderall.

    So I now have a kid that it spiraling quickly, and I can not get ANY help from anyone!! I asked the caseworker today if we can get a court order to place him in treatment, and she said that without any legal charges, or DHS involvement, that is nearly impossible to do. So do I have to wait until he hurts himself or someone else before I can get help?! This is insane!! Even his psychiatrist is useless. Has no idea how to help get him into treatment.

    i don't know what to do. I may try calling someone in family law to see if they can help me. I can't live like this anymore. As much as I love him, I need him out of my home. The things he says to and in front of my 9 year old are beyond bad...but of course, he always says "I was just JOKING", as if that makes it okay. Just tonight, used a very disgusting, derogatory word in front of him, and when I told him to knock it off, he said he was sorry, and then proceeded to tell my son what the actual definition of the word was. He has no "filters" when he is off adderall.

    He is totally bullying me in my own home, and I don't know how to stop it. I walk on eggshells.

    I am a nurse practitioner, and if one of my patients was diagnosed with cancer, there would be no issue whatsoever with getting them treatment! They would be admitted that day! Why is this any different? His mental health and substance abuse has just as poor a prognosis if left untreated.

    Ugh, I am so incredibly sad, anxious, worried. I know many of you are in the same boat. I just don't think it is fair that my other kids have to suffer because of their older brother. I just want them to live in a peaceful, loving home. Is that too much to ask?

    Thank you for listening. Oh, how I wish this group met in person!!

  2. Wakegirl

    Wakegirl Member

    Hello Karenvm! I'm sorry to hear of your struggles, yet I can totally relate to so much of what you typed. I'm a new member and it totally amazes me how many parents are experiencing so much of what I'm going through with difficult child. What is wrong with this generation??? It's horrifying. The only difference is that although my son has smoked pot, his main vice is synthetic weed, which can be bought at a store just across the stateliness. It angers me so. I've even gone as far as writing a letter to the Governor. It needs to be taken off the market! Anyway... It baffles me that you're having so much trouble getting him into rehab. Especially at the age of 17. Is the law different in your state? I know where I live, a parent has control until a child reaches the age of 18. Perhaps you could call a local drug therapy group, and they can advice to some places that don't require your sons consent. I know my sons therapist was very helpful with that. Even broke down the ones that would take difficult child's insurance, and the ones that would accept cash. I know Mississippi is a long drive for you, but I know of a great one that would take him next week. :) Nonetheless, my heart goes out to you and your family, and I'll pray that you find an answer soon.
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    In our state a child can refuse mental health treatment at age 16. So unless I get a dr to put a hold on him then get the court to give me medical guardianship, my.dev. delayed, autistic, brain injured son could walk out. I've been reassured with his records it would be "easy" but how crazy that I have legal responsibility to make decisions and provide care in all other areas, even all other medical areas, but would need his permission to admit him when he's aggressive or out of control. Ugggggg.
    I know this is not a fun choice but given that he put your other son at risk and is in possession of illegal items in your home, maybe it's time to press charges? Then he can be maybe forced to treatment. Maybe if you present him with either go or we will press charges (but you have to be willing to follow through )????
    I know they need to be willing but many people don't initially go willingly. (Thats why interventions are done, right?) You don't have much time so maybe a more drastic step is needed?
    At least when he is 18 you will be able to say he has to leave. Sigh.

    I'm so sorry. I pray he finds his way back to himself and your family. It's so heartbreaking. Many members of my extended family are in recovery. It's such a blessing when they are successful.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I understand about the Adderrall. It is a highly conveted street drug (this is from my daughter who was once a serious drug user). You can get up to $10 pill on the street for this drug and kids crush it in pillcrushers and snort it alone or with things like cocaine. I don't think it should ever be prescribed to drug users. Most likely he wasn't taking it right anyway and he could have been selling it. My daughter stole her little brother's ADHD medications because teens like to use them to get high, but Adderrall is the king pin of drugs you get high on. It was my daughters favorite, along with the stuff you snort it with, then she'd take downers so she could sleep. I guess this is a popular thing for drug users to do, or it was about ten years ago when she was at her peak. So Son is unlikely to get it as a script and, really, psychotropic medications don't work if our kids are also drinking, using recreational drugs, etc. I get why the doctor won't prescribe it.

    I had two younger kids, like you do. When Daughter was eighteen we went away for a two day weekend with the little ones and asked Daughter to feed the dogs. We came home a day early, surprising her (not on purpose) and found her and her friends having a drug party at our house. After that we gave her a month to find a place to stay...she was leaving, in spite of her screaming that she'd hate us forever. She doesn't. We're very close now.

    The knife could be for intimidation, to cut, or to maybe cut drugs.

    I'm so sorry you have to go through it.
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    OK, first things first... :hugs:

    been there done that. The entire system has failed my Onyxx. She will be 18 in a month... And similar issues keep happening. I'm sure she has hidden stuff in Jett's bedroom, as he cleans about as well as your average teen boy... It took over a year for him to find his Nintendo DS that was in a backpack in his closet. She probably doesn't even remember all her hiding places, and as her bedroom will be Meggie's eventually, we'll have to do MAJOR cleaning/ripping out carpet/vents/light switches.

    As you put it, he is 17. This means that if you need to kick him out... The system probably won't stop you. Is it the best option? Probably not. But, like me, you have younger children to worry about. The best thing we ever did for Onyxx was to call the cops on her. It got her INTO the juvenile justice system and has gotten her some help. Is it perfect? No. But... It's more than we had before.
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    First, big (((Hugs))).

    Like other parents here, I've been there done that - so I completely understand your frustration with the system.

    My advice is for you to start using the rules to your advantage. 17 year olds know their rights - they know that parents cannot kick them out of the house, they know that parents cannot force them to go to school, and they know that parents cannot force them to take medications or into medical treatment or anything like that.

    Know YOUR rights. You legally own everything in that child's bedroom. EVERYTHING. I don't care if he raked lawns and bought an Xbox "with his own money" - legally, it is YOURS.

    You CAN give him an ultimatum: go into treatment or you take away everything.

    Strip his bedroom except for the things the law requires parents to provide: a bed (mattress on the floor), a light, come clothing (not $200 sneakers - just some things from Goodwill are fine), and three meals a day.

    No - your son will not like it. But your goal is to get him into treatment - or get him out of your house! If he gets mad - let him take his pot-smoking behind to someody else's house. Then to cover your own backside, call the police and report him as a "runaway"....they won't do anything about it at his age - but it creates a report showing that you did the right thing.

    Call the polioce any time you find drugs or drug paraphenalia in your home.

    Call the police any time your son threatens you....physically or verbally.

    I'm sorry that you are dealing with this....it's a horrible position to be in.

  7. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I agree with all that has been said. Call the police and tell him he is endangering your other children as well as himself. The pot in his 9 year old brothers room/clothing should be enough to get him arrested at least.

    Also been there done that but with a mother who is Bi Polar/schizo. Medically she wasn't sick enough to stay in a hospital with two broken legs but mental health facilities wouldn't take her because she wasn't mobile enough for group care sessions. Of course they had no problem telling us to care for her.
  8. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi Karenvm,

    I have to agree with Buddy regarding pressing charges against your son for endangering your 9 yr old. Also agree that if you have some leverage and can give your difficult child the choice to either consent to treatment or face the possibility of being arrested that you may get his cooperation.

    In addition, if difficult child is refusing to go to school you can contact the school and they will get truency court involved. Other authorities along with all of your documention from the psychiatrists, psychologists, and case worker...as well as your own account of what is going on in the house right now, presented to a judge, should get the ball rolling for treatment I would think.

    Karen, I am so sorry you are going through all of this as I understand how scary it is to have a son you love so much get involved with drugs/alcohol and spiral out of control.

    Hope treatment is in your son's near future. Hang in there...we're listening.

    PS...What has your son been dxd with? If he possibly has Bipolar Disorder and has been on Lexapro that could make him manic. Is there a history of mental illness in the family?
  9. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Hello Karen, welcome to the board. I agree that you should cal lin the police for any illegal activity and if that doesn't get you results then DSS because he is endangering you other children Much better to get authorities involved while it will still be handled in the juvie system. The thing is if he doesn't get help he will be in the adult penal system soon anyway. Your window is small I would act now. Most juvie records are sealed and if they stay out of trouble can often be expunged. -RM
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Karen, You have gotten great advice here... Unfortunately sometimes it takes getting involved in the legal system to then get help... or to get the young person the motivation to get help. Jail or treatment is sometimes the choice they face. So at this point I agree with everything that has been said.... lay down your rules, make it clear if he gets in trouble then all you will do is help him get treatment.... my guess is if he gets in trouble then he may decide treatment is a good option.

    And yes call the police any time things get out of hand... especially when things happen like your 9 year old finding pot.... that will get CPS called by the police.

    Use the systems, as flawed as they are, to your advantage.

    It is crazy you cant insist your 17 year old into treatment. It is also crazy that you can have no access to any of your 18 year old medical records without their permission... so once they are 18 no treatment center will talk to you without your child signing the release forms!!